Lots of students picked up their A Level results this week. The % of A grades has increased so lots of high achievers. This standard of commitment over a long period of time can add so much pressure. These individuals in the top % would have mixed feelings of relief and joy at having reached the grade they had their whole future mapped out on, wether that was their choice or not.
Please let’s also remember those who worked extremely hard, pushing themselves above and beyond but did not meet the expected grade, absolutely mortified. This brings it’s own pressures but with added disappointed, shame, guilt and most likely heartbroken in most cases. We also have to accept that some students do not have any support network, maybe parents or guardians who actually don’t care about their child, their results or their future. This is a reality of life and those students will require a support network elsewhere.
Let’s also spare a thought also for the parents, guardians etc of those individuals. They go through it with their young ones but in a different way. Some try and encourage them to take a break and socialise when they feel they are studying too much. Some will push the young ones into constant study and in some cases, extra tuition when maybe it’s not warranted. Alternatively, you have other parents or guardians who have to push their young ones to study for different reasons. Either the student is just not interested, is fighting against the system, is battling a learning difficulty and trying so hard to stay mainstream, or they are in with the wrong crowd and totally not interested. They may be seen as the bad parent if they are forcing them into study. It affects more than the student waiting for the results, Not being able to sleep the night before and no one really consuming much breakfast. everyone involved is as nervous on results day as their young one and feels the joy or disappointment with them.
I was sat on a train to London on Thurs morning and sometimes you can’t help hearing some conversations because they TALK REALLY LOAD!!!! Anyway, this lady was talking to a colleague over the phone, quite jolly and mentioned she was nervous waiting to hear how her daughter got on. She had mentioned that she had provisionally been accepted into a university results pending. A few moments later she was on the phone and her tone of voice changed. She sounded worried and she was asking the person on the line why they were crying. It soon became apparent it was her daughter. Sadly the conversation became strained because the phone signal was slipping in and out. You could hear the strain and distress in this ladies voice. Eventually she got through again enough to tell her daughter not to worry and to make her way home. The lady then phoned someone else to ask them to go home and be with her daughter because she was in bits. She then picked up what was to be another work call but there was no jolly tone anymore.
The news had hit the girl and her mother hard, the daughter would spend the day in distress and so would the mother because she would be worried about her daughter whilst being at work. There is so much pressure these days on being a high achiever which can cause anxiety and depression amongst other things; mainly due to burnout. There is also the feeling of failure and all the emotions attached to that if they don’t reached the required grade. Some individuals have expectations placed upon them that they just can’t meet which then adds more pressure to the mix. Some students ‘give up’ before the finish line, other students ‘give up’ on results day when emotions are all consuming and they don’t meet the grade.
We have to be prepared to help these students at the earliest signs of stress in order that they do not ‘give in’. Yes, education is important and grades are also important but they are not the final decision maker in life; this does not define you. Some individuals who go through university having gained straight A’s but are struggling to gain employment. I left school with only 1 GCSE to my name in art and didn’t think I would amount to anything. Now, I own my own business and have letters after my name, but not before I spent many successful years in the RAF, becoming a commissioned officer and excelling in my role. Life does not have to end if your results are not what you, or others expected. You can still make the grade in life.